Woods Hole affordable housing headed for resolution
On Monday night, the 419 Woods Hole Road subcommittee completed their deliberations and voted to make recommendations to the Board of Selectmen on potential affordble housing development on town-owned property near the fire station along Woods Hole Road. This issue, considered and debated over four years, is now headed to some sort of resolution (we hope) as the final delivery of a completed document to the Falmouth Affordable Housing Committee and the Selectmen is iminent. As I pondered this event and dozed off to sleep, I began dreaming...
I had a dream last night. I lived in a magical town of seaside beauty, one with beautiful beaches, sprawling open spaces for the people and their animals to play and run free, and plentiful rivers and streams flowing into the mighty ocean. This community, named Thomlaf, had distinct villages, each with its own character and identity. From the former farming villages to the east and north, to the bustling commercial center in the south, to the shellfishing along the shore, this wonderful community offered residents a chance to live in villages that defined who they are and what they believe. The finest of these villages was, without question, the picturesque hamlet of Fool's Knoll. This village had everything a resident could want. It had the ocean on two sides, a world-renown scientific research institution, a great commercial area with superb restaurants, and a harbor with big, beautiful boats to take visitors to the nearby island of visiting kings. It even had its own fire station. This was truly a village of which to be proud. The people of Fool's Knoll knew this. They told people throughout Thomlaf that their village was the most beautiful of all and that its people possessed the most wisdom. They wisely joined most of the committees that helped run the government of Thomlaf, lest there be any bumps in the road that they could help handle. From the Ministers of Finance, to the Arbiters of Health and Tobacco, to the Chief Board of Selection, the people of Fool's Knoll had a strong representation in running Thomlaf.
See School Committee update here.The dream is a little hazy, but I recall the town's progression and maturity over the years as people from all around the country realized what a great place to live was Thomlaf. Each village felt the pressures of growth as former farmlands became densely populated residential areas and the roads of Thomlaf struggled to meet the needs of bustling transportation. The most important issue, though, was figuring a way to provide affordable places to live for the hard working people that helped teach the children of Thomlaf, and its firefighters and police officers, its nurses and librarians. After all, Thomlaf needed all of these great people to continue to be such a magical place to live.
The Chief Board of Selection decided that all the villages should share in providing such affordable housing. The people of the Hill with the Golden Dome, who made many of the rules for the entire kingdom, provided a law that gave incentives to property owners and businessmen. They could build more houses on a piece of land as long as some of the houses were provided at an affordable price. Although the idea sounded good at the start, this law from the people of the Hill with the Golden Dome did not anticipate the strain it would create for the government of Thomlaf and other towns in the kingdom. In fact, the law created more problems than it solved by making the Board of Selection spend more money on schools and roads, on police and fire with all of the extra houses. It was a very vexing problem. Nevertheless, the property owners and businessmen took advantage of the law from the people of the Hill with the Golden Dome and built dozens and dozens of new homes in town, mostly on former farmland in East Thomlaf, where generations before had raised their families and built a future planting and selling strawberries, cranberries and other native crops.
Save for the pressures of meeting the demands of people looking to visit the nearby island of visiting kings, Fool's Knoll was generally protected from these growth pressures. Once in a while, a businessman or developer would make a plan for growth or change in the village, and the wise people of the village would protest loudly and forcefully. "Fool's Knoll is special," they would argue. "It is the jewel of all of Thomlaf." Once, a man representing the Earl of the Sandwich of the Golden Arch wanted to build a place for people to eat in Fool's Knoll. The Golden Arch was o.k. in Leaves' Thicket, part of East Thomlaf they said, but not in Fool's Knoll. It would destroy the quaintness and character of the village.
Most recently, some volunteers in town approached the government of Thomlaf with a proposal to build some affordable housing in Fool's Knoll on land donated to the town near the Fool's Knoll Fire Station. Again, the people of Fool's Knoll protested, citing the same concerns of quaintness and character, traffic and the impact of the law from the people of the Hill with the Golden Dome. The people of East Thomlaf, especially those from Leaves' Thicket, protested asking "where were you folks when these projects were proposed on our pristine land?" The people of Fool's Knoll reminded the rest of Thomlaf that their village was special, and that they were the wisest in the land.
I awoke without being able to complete the dream, but my sense is that the powerful people of Fool's Knoll got their way. It seems like in fairy tales like this one, they always do. Then again, maybe the people of East Thomlaf and Leaves' Thicket helped the town leaders and the Board of Selection realize that all villages have to share in the burden for a town wide challenge, be it affordable housing, wastewater disposal, or recreation. If I dream about it again, I'll let you know, although this magical town of Thomlaf really sounds familiar to me. Any ideas?